Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes, we can; we have to

It's an interesting video. After all that has happened in the past 4 years, I think it's time someone sincere and devoted tried to do something about all of America's problems. Again, I'm not that knowledgeable when it comes to U.S. politics, but Obama won, and it seems like he will bring change.
To end it off, here's something a friend of mine said on Facebook:

i was telling my mom on the day of election i was like iym not really into this whole deal because I remember an episode of Oprah where she was interviewing this guy who was sooooo well spoken very smart a lawyer and working in underpriliveged areas to ... Read Moreimprove things WITH them not FOR them in chicago and the thing that amazed me was that HE LIVED LIKE THEM wore their clothes, their food, their shower system (some black bag you hang from the shower tap and u only get like 4 minutes), etc... and I was like and he said he wanted to be president so I wanna see when he runs cuz I think he should win
and my mom FREAKED
shes like THATS OBAMA!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Away from 'Home'

As I walk in the neighborhoods I grew up in the nostalgia threatens to take over my thoughts. Every bruise, laugh, and hug rushes past my eyes and I welcome the memory as i would an old friend. I realize that no matter how far and wide I run this will still be home. This, where it snows 11 months in a year, where trucks rule the road, and where construction is just as much part of the landscape as the rivervalley.
I continue...
Through the hallways that were once home. Listening to those who had once, and remain my mentors. Those who helped me on my journey to the person I am today, those who shaped the person I will become.
Through the collegiate streets I once adored. Still do. The leaves crunch under my feet, and a smile finally finds its way to my mouth. So many good memories.
100 things to do, coffee dates, rivervalley walks, nearly getting run over by angry bus drivers every morning.
The smile lingers as I remember those who carried me through the most difficult times of my life. Many of whom I owe my life. All of whom each hold a piece of my heart.
The tears begin to fall, slow at first. A long breath.
They say home is where the heart is.
-Teresa Bawa-an

It's odd to read something like this coming from someone who moved away and is back in town for a visit. Whenever I think of the future, I mostly think about what I would be doing, and what life would be like; I've never thought about where I would be. Being in Software Engineering, there's a big chance of having to move to a new city, perhaps even having to move to the U.S.

I have moved away from my birthplace, but I'd say it was quite different. Having a large extended family in the Philippines, I was mostly around them, and barely hung out with my own friends. And moving to Canada was with my [immediate] family. Moving out after University however, would mean leaving home, family, friends, the familiar places, and even the nameless, yet familiar faces I see daily. I find it hard to imagine living without all these people. There's always the phone and the internet, but that's not quite the same as physically being with the people you love.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What "Be Yourself" Really Means

The Traditional Definition

You've probably heard it. You've probably told someone at some point: "be yourself".

Whenever I was told that, I didn't have a clue what it really meant. The more I heard it, the more useless it became. Do what you normally do right? But that's an infinite loop, because you don't know what you normally do. That's why you asked whatever you asked in the first place, but you were simply told to be yourself. Besides, "self" is a complex word. Allison Mack wonderfully explains it (I didn't plan to start reading any celebrity's blog, but this one has some deep posts that captured my attention). You takes on a new definition around every person, and possibly even different when combinations of people are present.

My Definition

Someone on Yahoo Answers asked a question about copying her friend's style and I figured I just had to tell her my thoughts on being herself, because a lot of the answers were "be yourself" with no real explanation. I've had this philosophy for quite a while now, probably since the last few months of Grade 12 but I've never explained it or shared it with anyone. The more I think of my explanation, the more it seems to be the perfect way to share it.
Sounds like a topic that should be left for the women here, but I'll answer anyway.

"Be yourself" doesn't do it justice. Whenever I was told that, it didn't really help me, nor did I really understand what I was supposed to do in order to "be myself".

Here's my take: Do what you want, only if it's because you want to do it. Don't do anything that you think others would want you to do.

Applying it to this, if you're changing your style because *you* really like that style, or *you* think it will make you better, go for it. If it's because you *think* *other people* will think you look better, then you have the wrong reasons.

And to emphasize the first point, do it if you like that particular style. You'll find that you wont really be copying her. You'll just be going for a style you love. If you're only doing it because this girl is popular or whatever and you want to be like her, then don't. That would be copying. You can tell this is the case if you think you "like" her style whenever she changes it.

I don't know if that makes sense. But in a nutshell, do it if YOU want it and you have YOUR OWN reasons. Don't consider what other people might think. And don't copy. It's completely different from adopting a style you like that happens to already be used by someone else.
-2Perfect, Yahoo! Answers
Like I said, this might be hard to make sense out of, but if you really try to understand it, I think it will really be helpful.

Few examples?

If you like a girl, don't change the way you act and look because you think she'll like it. She probably wont. However, if you find a style you really love and you think it fits you, go for it. Indirectly, you're still reaching the same goal: Making yourself better. Only one is in the eyes of others, and you're not even certain if they actually think you're now better. The second is in your own eyes, which you're obviously sure of.

If you're not doing great in school or something, don't improve your marks for your parents. In a good way, parents will never be satisfied until you are perfect. They want their children to be the best they can be. Which means if you go from 50s to 60s, they'll now be looking for 70s. If you go from 80s to 90s, they'll look for 100s. So if you want to improve your marks, do it for yourself. If it would make you feel better, if it would make you feel smarter, more confident in yourself. If it would make you feel more useful, etc. I mean at a young age, if you followed this, you obviously don't care much about what you want past the next couple days, so this wont work. But at high school then University, it's all up to you. Don't do it for your parents. Do it for you.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

David Makes History: One Year on A Berlin Heart

See that baller in the middle, wearing the red shirt? That's my friend David, and he just made history a week or so ago. If you look closely, you'll see a Berlin Heart on him, which he has to wear because his real heart isn't functioning properly. Here's Global Edmonton's Clip on his berlin heart turning 1 year.

But anyway he decided to hold a picnic/barbecue last Saturday, which was A LOT of fun. It was pretty much a Mac reunion along with, of course his berlin's 1 year. You can check out the Photo album on Facebook. But yeah... I just thought I'd post about it because I haven't posted in a while. If I tell the whole story it would be way too long, so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves :P

Update: I'm sad to say that David passed away in June 2013.

When I was leaving Edmonton, David and I talked about how all Mac '07 graduates are doing great things and going places. Every single one of us was inspired by David in some way. It's amazing how one person can bring together so many.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Grand Theft Auto IV Review

Grand Theft Auto IV cover This is the first Grand Theft Auto in the series that I've owned. Some of the cons I mention may be traditional GTA features that are kept for nostalgic reasons and the pros I mention may be GTA standards that are always there and aren't special.

I bought the game while I applied for jobs at the mall. The Source needed an 18+ ID, and being 17, I didn't produce an ID. I went to HMV, and after applying there, I asked about GTA4. The cashier said I had to be 17. SCORE! So if you're 17, go to HMV :) I didn't even have to produce an ID because I had my Engineering clipboard to hold my resumes and the cashier thought it made sense that I'm 17 if I'm in University.

Jack of all Trades

After a couple days of playing it, I'd say the game is a jack of all trades master of none. I don't think it deserves the 10/10 that IGN gave it. This game has everything. Billiards, bowling, swimming, open world roaming, street racing, watch TV etc. I haven't confirmed for myself but you might even be able to play some sports. If GTA4 gets any better, this might be the one game you need for everything. If you combine 20 genres of PS1 or PS2 games, and add a little bit of PS3 capability in the mix, you get GTA IV.

The Cons

None of them are that exceptional. Billiards has no physics. The ball has to be exactly in the hole. If 75% of it was in the hole, it wont fall in. The driving is weird. Most cars feel like muscle cars and few have decent handling. The brakes are slow too. In a real car, step on the brakes a little and the car pretty much stops (and if you're going fast enough you die). I'm getting the hang of driving but I don't think it can be compared to GT5:Prologue like Dan was comparing it, or even arcade-style racing like Need For Speed. The AI is dumb. You see someone running in the street, what do you do? You let them hit you and complain after? A lot of cars turn without the right of way. I'm going straight on a green, it turns yellow and they start turning. I mean sure, right turns are legal, but they make left turns. The cops are dumb too - but I guess that's part of the game otherwise if they kept a record on you, you'd never be able to step out of your apartment. How fast the time goes is quite horrible. A red light lasts 5 minutes on the cellphone's clock. A green light lasts half, maybe 1 minute. If you're late for picking up your friend by 3 minutes, they don't want to go anymore? Wouldn't happen IRL. Lastly, although a lot of games have food as health regenerators, this game should've been a little more creative. Hotdogs? =/ Use bandages or something! Even resting at your apartment could be the health regen or regen over time.

The Pros

The graphics are the best part of this game. It's nothing like CoD4 graphics for landscape, nor GT5:Prologue graphics for cars, but it's damn good for such a huge map, lots of cars, buildings, etc. If you walk on sand, it keeps your footprints for a good while. I kept walking in circles for 3 minutes and my first footstep was still there, so I gave up. The water is pretty awesome too. The splash is more realistic than the waterfall in CoD4's creek, and looks pretty much like a Warhawk sliding right on top of the water. The dynamic weather is awesome, although night gets a bit too dark. Other than Warcraft 3, this might be the only game I've seen that has night and day. The hand combat and gun fighting are awesome parts of the game too. It's better than Warhawk's gunfighting. And the fact that you can swim, fly a copter, drive, walk, run, jog, all in one game is great too. The physics of free roam is pretty cool. You get off a car when it's too fast and you get hurt. You get hit by a fast car, you get hurt a lot. Hit by a slow car, you just fall to the ground.

Hardware Issues

So far the only issues I've had is with online play. After an hour of online play, the game froze. I waited for a long time and it didn't stabilize. I reloaded the game and not even my single player would load. However, after a hard shutdown (flipping the switch on the back), it's working again. Another problem I've heard about but haven't experienced is the game doesn't work at all. Apparently this happens with the original 60GB PS3, and the limited Special Edition of GTA4. So just keep a note of that.